Starting A Blog Part 4: Planning & Promoting Your Blog Content

Planning blog content is something I've struggled with. I understand the purpose behind it, have seen how helpful it could be and even encourage others to do it. But for some reason, I thought it was easier and less time consuming to just create content when I needed it. While this didn't prove to be an outright disaster it made managing my blog harder.


Tips for planning content for your new blog | A Relaxed Gal

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On the flip side when I plan out my content in advance it's actually much easier and less stressful. In fact, planning your blog content has the following advantages:

Keeps you on track

 The plan for your blog content should map back to your blog goals. By putting together a plan you can track the progress you're making towards your goals.

It gives you something to refer back to. When I plot out the topics I'm going to be writing on and my related post ideas I can prioritize which ones I'll work on first and when they need to be completed.

Improves the quality of your content

I've found when I plan out several weeks' worth of content, I don't have to struggle to come up with content or scramble to create it. This leaves me more time to outline, write and tweak my posts. I've also found myself writing longer, more detailed and engaging posts when I don't feel like I'm pressed for time.

Helps you plan for vacations and holidays

When I plan out my content I can make sure I have posts going live on schedule. This is helpful when I'm traveling for work, on vacation or sick. I can also plan and prepare seasonal content without having to create it at the last minute and possibly miss out on additional traffic.

Let you provide better content

I've realized that in my first year of blogging, the majority of the blog posts I did were wash day posts for my hair. They weren't my more popular posts either, my infographic and tip posts were, but I didn't do as many of them. If I had been planning my content I would have seen that my content wasn't varied and also wasn't what my audience wanted.

Overall it saves time. Despite knowing and seeing these benefits I have to admit that I'll typically plan one month and not plan the next three. I'm finding that it really comes down to me being disciplined and creating a plan that is attainable for me.

So, how do you plan blog content? By creating an editorial calendar.

To create an editorial calendar the first thing you'll need is a calendar or content management system. I'm blogging on a budget so I don't use a content management system as they come with a monthly fee. Instead, I use Google Calendar because it's free, easy to use and easy to access. Some other options for an editorial calendar include
  • Calendar printables
  • CoSchedule
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar (if you're on the WordPress platform)
How to plan content for a new blog | arelaxedgal.com

The editorial calendar

Before filling out your editorial calendar it can be helpful to reflect on the following
  • The focus of your blog or your blog niche
  • Your blog mission statement
  • Your blog goals
  • Your list of blog categories
  • How often you want to post
  • Your social media selections
  • Any special holidays or seasons you want to cover
  • The types of content you want to use
    • Written posts
    • Videos
    • Infographics
    • Printables
    • Tips
    • Contests/giveaways

Thinking through all of these things will help you get your plan all laid out. Now it's time to create the calendar. When I plan I
  • Plot my categories against my weekly blog posting schedule
  • List out a topic within each category
  • Determine the type of content for that topic. The type of content I provide on my blog is usually a written post, infographic, tip, video or some combination of the four


You can see in the picture of my Google Calendar I color code my categories which correspond to the colors I use on my site. As you can see from this incomplete calendar I still struggle with being consistent with my planning and getting it down on paper. But when I do it, I find it to be very helpful and I create my best content.

A Relaxed Gal May Content Calendar


Content promotion

The planning doesn't stop with creating the content. Next is a promotion plan. Seriously, you don't want to spend all that time creating your content and then have no one read it. Planning your promotion also helps you stay consistent. It helps keep your followers engaged and can help create consistent traffic to your blog.

There are many ways and places you promote your blog. Some are paid and others are free. For now, I'm going to touch on the top free ones that bloggers use - social media and Pinterest.


Social media

Social media is an important part of blogging as it can be used for content promotion. The best part about using social media for content promotion is it's free! Yes, you can place paid ads on several of them, but building a following and getting your content shared doesn't need to cost anything.

There are hundreds of social sites for you to choose from. There are popular sites such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter. Depending on your blog focus there may also be smaller more niche social sites you could leverage.

For the purposes of this post, I'm going to just hit on a couple of social sites - Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook

There are two key ways for you to leverage Facebook for free content promotion - a business page and groups.

You can create a business page for your blog which is slightly similar to a personal page except you get access to more features. Features such as setting up a store where people can buy products you sell and buying Facebook ads.

Groups are really popular on Facebook and if used strategically they can be a good way to promote your blog. I've joined hair, beauty and lifestyle groups where I share my content and interact with other bloggers. Not only does it help me gain new followers and readers but I sometimes get new content ideas from questions or discussions that happen in the groups.

Twitter

Twitter is being used more and more for moment-in-time snapshots. I tweet content related to my blog focus. Some of the content is my own and some of it's from other bloggers and sites. To post my tweets I use HootSuite to pre-schedule my tweets.

Twitter has been a test and learn social platform for me and while I haven't always seen great success, I've learned some great best practices for using the site.
  • Don't just share your content, share the content of other bloggers and brands. Sometimes bloggers and brands will like or retweet your posts with their content. This can garner additional impressions and followers.
  • Include images in your posts. I've found that my posts with images get me the most impressions and engagement.
  • Engage with those you follow and your followers. I try to like and retweet a few posts from those I follow each day.
  • Use hashtags relevant to your post and blog focus. I limit myself to no more than three hashtags a post. More than that and it can get overwhelming.
  • Pay attention to your Twitter analytics as it can tell you a lot about the types of posts that get the most engagement.

Pinterest

Many of the bloggers I follow swear by Pinterest because it's their largest traffic driver. Over time I was able to build my reach on Pinterest to the point that is one of my highest traffic drivers. You can read more about how I've done this in How I'm Winning At Pinterest And You Can Too

Here are some tips I found and have started employing for getting better results from Pinterest:

  • Have boards that closely match your blog focus
  • Post content that closely aligns with your blog focus
  • Don't just post your content, post the content of others
  • Create vertical Pinterest friendly images for your blog posts
  • Use a pin scheduler like Tailwind so you're posting at optimal times throughout the day

Building a following

Yep. You read this right. Before you launch your blog, you should build a following. This is something I wish I'd done before launching my blog and even before my rebrand.

You can do this by setting up your social profiles, following others and posting content. Since you won't have any of your own content yet you can post the content of others that align with the focus of your soon to come blog.

That way when you do launch your blog you'll have some followers ready to read and share your content.
How are you planning and promoting your new blog?



Starting A Blog Part 4: Planning & Promoting Your Blog Content Starting A Blog Part 4: Planning & Promoting Your Blog Content Reviewed by Leah | A Relaxed Gal on 14 May Rating: 5

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